Guys! I met a new friend who you're all going to love... let me introduce you to Jamie Ivey! Just last month, I flew down to Texas to meet her and record an episode for her podcast, The Happy Hour With Jamie Ivey (you can listen to the episode here). She is mother to four beautiful kids, wife to Aaron, lives outside of Austin, Texas and has just released her first book, If You Only Knew; My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free. I asked if she wouldn't mind me sharing some of it with you, and she said yes! She's a soul sister with a message of freedom and vulnerability that aligns so deeply with my heart. I believe you're going to love her and love her book!
Here is an excerpt:
"Remember at the end of high school when they announce the people who are “Most Likely to _________”? Then they fill in the blanks with things like, “Most Likely to Succeed,” “Most Likely to Stay Single,” “Most Likely to Become Famous.”
I never received any of those “Most Likely to . . .” awards in high school, but I can only imagine what I would have received if they’d given me one: “Most Likely to Get Married Early,” “Most Likely to Become a Teacher,” “Most Likely to Become a Mom.” Yet on the inside, my identity was in shambles. I knew I wasn’t “likely” to do any of those things. And as I worked my way through college, the predictions would only have gotten worse: “Most Likely to Get Divorced,” “Most Likely to Get a Disease,” “Most Likely to Get Pregnant.” (Well, that one actually did happen, but thankfully not the others.)
If we’re not careful, our whole identity can become wrapped up in what other people think we’re supposed to be or what we think we’re supposed to do. Perhaps today, for example, you’re basing your identity on something as fresh and recent as how you acted last night and what somebody said to you or accused you of. Or you’re finding your identity in the mom you want to be, or the mom you hate that you are. Maybe you’re finding your identity in the job you have, or the job you wish you had but can’t seem to get hired for.
Maybe you find part of your identity in what you did this summer, or what you wish you’d done this summer, compared to what everybody else was doing (and bragging about doing). Maybe you find your identity in the ministries you perform at church and how people perceive your “Christian” standing because of it. Maybe you find your identity in your passions, in your body mass index, in your checkbook balance, in your home décor choices, or whatever other kinds of indicators seem to measure your worth and success as a person. We are constantly finding our identity from everything around us, from everywhere we go, and from everything, people say and think about who we are or who we should be.
But this is not who we are. And we always need to remember that.
A few years ago, one of my kids came home from school, super down about his day. He told me how during the day, some kids at school had been talking about all those “Most Likely to . . .” categories, and his friends announced they had voted him “Most Likely to Lose at Arm Wrestling.” My first inclination was to laugh. From my vantage point as an adult, of course, being known as the best arm wrestler in third grade doesn’t mean much. But I held back my giggles because I could see this insult had been a real blow to my son’s nine-year-old heart because his friends had made him sad . . . and “because I’m strong,” he told me.
“I know you are,” I said, pulling my sweet boy close to me, hugging him. I whispered into his ear, telling him he was a child of God whose identity was already secured, and that his identity in Christ is the only identity he ever needs to be worried about. He didn’t need to be devastated or heartbroken over what his friends were saying because that identity never matters.
And I wonder if that’s not what our Father wants to do when we come home from another day of combat, with all those false identities screaming in our head. Can’t you just hear Him saying, “My sweet daughter, those thoughts you’re thinking are not true? Remember My promises to you? My Word is true. You know this. You are a child of Mine. You are a new creation. I have made you alive with Christ, and I have chosen you to be My daughter so that I can do great things through you.”
Over and over I’ve needed Him to whisper these truths to me—through His Word, through His Spirit, through my community. And if past (and current) history are any indication, I feel pretty sure I’ll be struggling to believe it until the day I take my final breath on this earth, until I’m face-to-face with Jesus. Of the numerous things in my life that I battle nearly every single day, remembering my identity is one of them.
Over time, God has revealed Himself to me in ways I’d never before been willing to accept. I finally started to learn that my identity is not skewed because of all the things I’ve done or haven’t done, but is secured by all the things Jesus has done (as well as by what He hasn’t done, like condemn and reject me).
My identity is only what it is today—a daughter of the King—because of Jesus. It has nothing to do with me. “Most likely” has been replaced by the absolute assurance that I am loved and cherished by my heavenly Father, despite all that He knows of me. And when I finally began believing this truth—that God could use a broken, messed-up person like me for His glory—I could finally breathe a sigh of relief.
That’s when things really started to change for me. I know it can be the same for you."
So friend, get out there, buy Jamie's book and subscribe to her podcast. You'll find a fast friend through each page you turn and each episode you hear.